Proverbs 12

Chapter 12

On the Way of Righteousness[a]

1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but the one who hates correction is stupid.
2 The good man wins the favor of the Lord,
but the malicious man incurs his condemnation.
3 No one earns security by wickedness,
but the roots of the righteous will not be shaken.
4 A good wife is her husband’s crown,
but one who disgraces him is like decay in his bones.
5 The aims of the righteous are honorable,
but the schemes of the wicked are full of deceit.
6 The words of the wicked are snares to shed blood,
but those of the upright keep them safe.
7 Once the wicked are overthrown, they are no more,
but the house of the righteous remains firm.
8 A man will be praised if he exhibits good sense,
but one with a perverse mind is despised.
9 It is better to be a laborer and have food to eat
than to put on airs and have an empty stomach.
10 A righteous person supplies the needs of his animals,[b]
but the heart of the wicked is without mercy.
11 One who tills his land has an abundance of food,
but he who chases fantasies[c] is a fool.
12 The wicked desire the prey of evil men,
but the root of the righteous bears fruit.
13 The wicked man is ensnared by the sin of his lips,
but the righteous frees himself from misfortune.
14 An abundance of good things flow from the fruit of one’s lips,
and a man’s labor will give him a suitable reward.[d]
15 The fool is convinced of the rightness of his ways,
but the man who listens to advice shows wisdom.
16 A fool is quick to show his anger,
but a prudent man ignores an insult.
17 A truthful witness is honest in his testimony,
but a false witness testifies deceitfully.
18 Thoughtless words wound like a sword thrust,
but the tongue of the wise produces healing.
19 Truthful speech endures forever,
but deceitful lies last only for a moment.[e]
20 Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil,
but those who counsel peace have joy.
21 No harm befalls the righteous,
but endless are the misfortunes of the wicked.
22 The Lord abhors lying lips,
but he delights in those who are truthful.
23 A prudent man does not flaunt his knowledge,
but the heart of fools proclaims their folly.
24 Authority will be granted to the diligent,
but the lazy will be enslaved.
25 Anxiety in the human heart weighs it down,
but a kind word makes it glad.
26 A righteous man gives good advice to his neighbor,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
27 A lazy man never reaps a rich harvest,
but the diligent man acquires precious wealth.
28 The way of righteousness leads to life,
but the way of vengeance leads to death.


  1. Proverbs 12:1 In this endless and already known variation on the theme of the righteous and the wicked and the sage and the fool, one could perhaps note a more marked insistence on truth in human relationships and on dislike of the foolish word. However, each maxim brings its own observation or its own teaching from popular good sense and sometimes from its religious certitude. From time to time, opposing portraits of women are evoked.
  2. Proverbs 12:10 A person who is good is kind even to animals (see Prov 27:23; Deut 25:4).
  3. Proverbs 12:11 This text is repeated almost verbatim in Prov 28:19. Chases fantasies: schemes to acquire ill-gotten goods.
  4. Proverbs 12:14 A man’s words of wisdom will yield a good harvest in the same way that his physical labor will bring him an abundant crop (see note on Prov 1:31; see also Job 34:11).
  5. Proverbs 12:19 A person who has spoken the truth has said it once and for all and need not open the mouth again; a liar must fall back on ever-new lies.

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